Monday, May 30, 2011


There's something to be said for laughing at our fears, as Harry and his classmates must do in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

In Defense Against the Dark Arts class, the Hogwarts students come up against a boggart, which takes the shape of the thing they most fear. In order to combat it, they incant the spell Riddikulus! while thinking of a way to make their feared object into something utterly laughable (for example, Ron makes a giant spider funny by removing all its legs).

Neville makes his biggest fear look pretty ridiculous
in the
Prisoner of Azkaban movie!
My fears are so often unfounded and get blown way out of proportion, not to mention that the nature of fear in the first place is that is is usually irrational. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to perform a riddikulus charm on fear of the future, financial anxiety, fear of being alone?

The great thing is, for those of us who are in Christ, we have that kind of defense. It's called the truth - that is, the Word of God - and it's not to be taken lightly. Our fears will come against us using all the negative power of our weak human mind, but we have a sure way to stop them where they stand.

Fear (of the boggart sort) is not from God. We are commanded to have faith instead. I'm reading in Mark right now, and one of his primary themes is faith as the antidote to fear. "Do not fear, only believe," he says in Mark 5:36, even as one of the greatest fears of humankind, death, lay before them.

We can have faith because we know the truth, and we can repeat the truth to ourselves because it's been given to us in the form of the Bible. Even if we can't think of a specific verse right off the bat to combat our fears at a given moment, we can remember the sure and unchanging character of God that we have learned. That he is good. Holy. All-knowing. Just. Compassionate. Merciful. Almighty.

And the legs fall off the spider, and the boggart retreats back into its dark box.

We can laugh, because the overwhelming perfection of Christ makes our fears look so small, and so, well, riddikulus. :)

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